Overworked businessman with head down on computer

5 ways to know if you’re in a career rut — and how to get out

Career ruts look different for everyone. But when you’re stuck in the middle of one, it’s important to recognize it and decide on your path out of it. For some, that comes by changing jobs or their perspective about their current job. For others, it’s about changing industries altogether.

So how do you know if you’re in a career rut? Let’s talk about it.

You’re Disengaged

This can come out in different ways. For some people, even those who were once strong performers, it can show up in missed deadlines or not producing the quality work you once did. In other people, it’s a sense of apathy that wasn’t there in their early days at the company.

The bottom line is this – when you aren’t enjoying the job as much as you once did, your behavior and production can change… quickly.

You Feel Underappreciated

Are you dealing with constant feelings of being underappreciated? That’s another sign you might be stuck in a rut. You’re plugging away at your responsibilities, solving problems and coming up with new ideas to move your company forward. But you’re frequently feeling like no one is noticing.

This could also be a sign that you are stuck in a rut – or that you’re in need of a new job altogether. It might be time to consider what’s best for your future.

Your Friends or Family are Noticing

Sometimes your career rut can spill into your life away from work. If family or friends start to notice differences in your personality or that you seem to be disengaged, it might be that your career rut is taking a bigger toll than you were even aware.

When it starts impacting your life outside of the office, it’s probably a good time to acknowledge the career rut and set out to fix it.

You Dread Work

The Sunday Scaries happen to everyone. That feeling starts to creep in on Sunday night as you’re closing out a great weekend of spending time with family or friends, enjoying your hobbies or doing whatever else makes you happy. Then the feeling kick in, and that “oh no” thought quickly resurfaces about returning to work on Monday. It happens to everyone at some point.

What’s not normal is when the Sunday Scaries show up every day of the week. When they turn into the Tuesday Scaries or Thursday Scaries, you’ve got a problem. That’s when you might be in a career rut, and it might be time for a change.

Your Passion isn’t the Same

You used to be energized whenever that new problem arose or that new challenge was presented to you at work. But now? Your frustration is easily noticed whenever you have to find a solution.

That should be a red flag that something is wrong. Nothing at the job has changed – the problems and task that need to be solved are still there. It’s the way you respond that has changed. That’s a strong signal that you probably need to figure out how to get out of a career rut.

How to Get Out of the Rut

So, what’s the verdict? Are you dealing with a career rut of your own? Going back to school is one way to change that, and the UF Warrington College of Business is here to help. Instead of finding another job that can quickly turn into the source of another rut, why not return to school and find a degree that can set you up for sustainable success?

Learn how Warrington’s master’s programs can help you out of your rut.